What I liked
- Low-key approach to dog training
- Dogs are obviously enjoying the training
- Each training video is well-filmed, short, and very specific
- Dove seems to have a good way with dogs
- Dove integrates hand signals and vocal commands and demonstrates their proper use
- Broad range of topics covered
- Special attention paid to training small dogs – an often overlooked area in dog training
What I wish
- A few bullet points under the videos on the web page that sums up the video and reminds you of key points
- The dogs mostly appear to be pre-trained. For example in the “Leave It” video, the border collie never broke once to fetch the toy or the treat. With a dog just learning the desired behavior, there would be a trial and error period. Wish I could look behind the curtain to see the messy steps to achieving the finished results.
- More specifics on how to find a good local trainer if you need additional help
DTO is Best For You If You…
- Are a new dog owner who needs lots of advice about training and caring for their dog
- Are a dog owner with a “problem dog” who is looking for specific information to solve behavior problems
- Are someone who wants the flexibility to choose a short video lesson which you can download quickly and put into action
- Like to be able to access a well-integrated video library from any device including your tablet or phone – handy for on-the-go training
- Want a single method approach to dog training, using positive reinforcement
Dove Creswell’s site, DTO (Dog Training Online) has a series of video training programs for dogs. Dove trains dogs for the movies, where they have to be reliable and solid on their training. She works with puppies and rescue dogs, proving her methods can “teach an old dog new tricks.”
DTO videos are sorted by age and type of training: Obedience Essentials, Just for Puppies, Problem Behaviors, and Advanced Lessons and Tricks. Within each category, there are 8 – 18 short videos, each lasting from about 1 minute to 5 minutes. Dove encourages you to view these on your phone while you are training so it makes sense that these “bite-sized” pieces are just right for a few minutes of training as recommended.
DTO videos are high-quality with good sound. The training videos are shot outside showing Dove working with a variety of different dogs. The advice videos are shot indoors in what appears to be a dog training space.
This section of 18 videos provides a good overview of behaviors: sit, down, come, stay, walking on a leash, etc. Most of the videos run 2 – 4 minutes. She uses several different dogs to demonstrate very specific training.
For example in the “Come When Called” video, Dove is working with a rescue dog who is not even sure of his name. She demonstrates getting his attention, a couple of tricks for making the dog irresistibly want to come to you, and using treats and the leash properly. By the end of the video, it is clear that the dog is on his way to understanding the command. She also reminds us that training will take many sessions for the dog to become solid on the behavior.
Just for Puppies
The eight videos in this series are studio-interviews, where Dove addresses a single question. For people who are nervous about owning or training a puppy, she is calm and reassuring. Most of the videos are about 1 minute long, just enough to address a particular concern without having to wade through a long video.
In her “Choosing the Right Dog Food,” Dove talks about the benefits of choosing high-protein, grain-free food. She also discloses that she owns a raw-food pet food company up front, so you know that she has a bias toward this type of food. Whether you choose to follow her advice, she does give you a couple of interesting points to consider. I do wish that she talked a little about whether puppies have special dietary needs and whether it was important to choose a food specifically marketed to puppies.
One very interesting video is “Puppy Crate Training.” Dove shows a very specific method of getting your dog to quietly settle in their kennel. She discloses that she has used this method with a couple of hundred dogs, from very young puppies to older rescue dogs and it is a method that has worked for all dogs. I have had dogs for over 30 years, and this is not a training method I was familiar with. I liked the fact that she states clearly her success with the method, shows it to be simple and not require any training or punishment, and that it builds on earlier training.
This section was intriguing to me – not because Monty has all these issues – but because too often, these are the make-or-break issues with keeping a dog. If you have a dog who is digging all the time, jumping on people, or barking inappropriately – these are the types of behaviors often cause the most distress for owners. Fourteen short videos (most are around 1 minute long) address each issue with sensible, solid advice. I would have liked a little more detail in some.
For example, in the “Stop Digging” video, she recommends providing a more interesting diversion so the dog will not have any interest in digging. It is not until near the end (near 0:42) that she recommends putting a piece of the dog’s poop in the hole to discourage digging in that spot. If I had a dog who had a favorite spot, this might be useful. My dog gleefully digs up my flower gardens everywhere, so unless I want to bury his poop all through my garden, I will need to look for another solution.
Another video, “Leave the Cat Alone” offers a more useful approach. You need to reinforce the “Leave It” command. She reminds us that it’s not just cats that dogs might want to chase (squirrels, cars, and young children are mentioned). Your dog needs to solidly understand that whatever you tell it to leave alone, it needs to abandon. This is practical advice as it creates more of an all-purpose approach with your dog instead of a case-by-case basis.
This section of 14 videos runs from simple fun tricks like “Sit Pretty Beg Up” to more serious topics like “Jogging with Your Dog.” The tricks are fun things to do with your dog including High-5 and “Shake a Paw.” Like the other lessons, each trick is broken out into videos of about 1 minute. Enough time for you to see the basics and then try with your dog.
One video that really impressed me was “Jogging with Your Dog.” Dove provides some great tips and things to think about if your dog is your running companion.
Seeking Outside Help
Dove mentions a couple of times in videos when it is advisable to seek one-on-one local training. I think this is important – especially for some behaviors which could be dangerous to you or your dog such as fear aggression. Dove suggests what to look for in a trainer (positive reinforcement instead of punishment-based training) and stresses that trainers should “have performed an apprenticeship and be credentialed.” I wish that she was more specific here about which credentials we should be looking for, and the type of training she considers positive reinforcement. She briefly mentions clicker training, but again, no specifics.
Bonus Training and Audio
There are a total of 15 slide-show-type videos divided into two categories: Multi-Media Overview and Audio Bonuses Overview. The Multi-Media category has slide-shows covering topics such as “Good Puppy Manners” and “Crate Training.” Surprisingly, I found some of Dove’s best material here. The “Puppy Manners” was especially thorough, with a round-up of basic training that most pups will need to be welcome members of the family. The Audio Bonus category had short advice-type lessons for you such as “Earning Your Dog’s Respect” which gave two quick and easy to implement tricks for reminding your dog that YOU are the top dog in the relationship.
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